Less than a month into her first term as an MP, Amarjeet Sohi (soon to be Sohi) is also preparing for his first day at work, giving his class of rookies a kick-off as the group of new-look political rookies gets ready to shift into campaign mode. The group was organized by the newest NDP MPs, many of whom were born or raised outside Canada. The group represents 13 different organizations and about 1,100 members, including those from the Green Party and B.C.’s Green Party.
“Every rookie has a special and different story. It’s been incredible to learn from other rookies, as we all have different backgrounds and all have had different experiences leading up to Tuesday. It’s helped to make us truly authentic Canadians, and learning from our peers is nothing but positive,” one member told the Montreal Gazette.
However, every day is different. “From now until election night, we will be reminding each other of the everyday challenges and sacrifices our families face and, in the end, letting one another know that we stand with our families, neighbours and communities in fighting for a brighter future,” Sohi said of his group. “This is important to remind people that the NDP has always fought for ordinary families in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.”
Indeed, it was Sohi’s family that meant everything for him on this day. He called his wife Deepa Sohi and son Ranjan to tell him that he was voted in as the new NDP MP for Calgary Centre. The new MP’s wife, who found out a few hours earlier at 5:30 p.m., said he was “honoured” to be elected. “Obviously, this is a very exciting and historic moment for us,” Sohi told the Montreal Gazette. “But it also has to be balanced by the fact that it is very, very early and this is just the first day in our time on Parliament Hill.”
As he prepared for his first day, Sohi was first preparing to meet the media to discuss the news. Sohi, who is from the town of Almonte in Ontario, spent three years training for this opportunity to represent his town in Ottawa and can now represent its best interests in the House of Commons. “I’m very much looking forward to serving my constituents, talking with them and finding ways to create a better future for them,” he said. “I do hope my people understand and appreciate that I will be meeting them, doing my best to learn from them and for them to hear how we can work together to create a stronger community.”
After reporting the news, Sohi’s group of rookie MPs got a chance to go see one of their new neighbours, Trudeau himself. “There was only a five-minute window of opportunity for me to get a photo with the prime minister, but in the end, I managed to squeeze it in there,” Sohi said of the brief encounter. “I didn’t see him very well, just his bare hands in front of me and he was smiling. It was amazing to have an opportunity to talk to him and I had high hopes from him in those moments.”
Like most MPs, Trudeau still has some time on his plate before moving into Parliament Hill, but he still had time to surprise the rookies. When Sohi picked up his children, then age 6 and 4, at home for the first time since his election, he said he welcomed him to the House of Commons. “I said, ‘Welcome to the Ottawa of today, the Parliament of the national party, the power of the House and to all of you, who have left home to come to Ottawa, you’ve left all your friends and family behind and you come here to Parliament to work for the betterment of all Canadians. Never, ever forget who sent you to Ottawa: the grassroots of the NDP.’ I think it’s important to take your children to Parliament because it is a great place, a great honour to be an MP. I’m very proud to represent this town, my community and my people.”